Entrance Sign Unveiling at Lower Presidio Historic Park Friday, February 3rd

Old Monterey Foundation is pleased to announce a special Lower Presidio Historic Park Entrance Sign Unveiling Ceremony at the entrance to Lower Presidio Historic Park on Friday, February 3rd from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. The ceremony will take place at the bottom of the hill off of Pacific Street and Artillery Road

The community, elected officials and the media are welcome to attend. Parking is available across the street in the Heritage Harbor Parking Lot or up the hill next to the Presidio of Monterey Museum (#113 Corporal Ewing Road off of Artillery Road) The Lower Presidio Historic Park is one of the least-visited historic parks in the area due to some confusion about whether the public is allowed in the area. Situated in a “hidden in plain sight” location, the park features spectacular views of the Monterey Bay and Harbor and will become a jewel of the City of Monterey’s park system.

According to Frank Sollecito, past President of Old Monterey Foundation, “We are thrilled to unveil the new attractive eye-catching sign that will allow our visitors and locals to more easily see the entrance to the Lower Presidio Historic Park,”This is a wonderfully spacious multi-use important historic public park that should be better utilized and our new sign will point the way. For the first time in over twenty years possession of the Park by the City of Monterey, a sign confirming the “Public is Welcome” will erase any confusion about entering the military reservation.

The beautiful entrance sign was designed by Kelly McCay of Pacific Grove, Sandy Freeman was the Design Manager, the sign was produced by Monterey Signs and installed by the City of Monterey. We sincerely thank the Rotary Club of Monterey for donating the funds necessary to fund the sign work as part of a Legacy Project for the Club. This is just the first step of many to enhance and restore this outstanding historic Park. Funds are also being raised to create an ADA-accessible path to the Sloat Monument as well as restore the head to the historic Saint Serra statue, ideally later this year.”

The Lower Presidio Historic Park, described as “The Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast” and “One of the Most Beautiful Places in Monterey” is on its way to becoming a true historic public park to be enjoyed by locals and visitors. Old Monterey Foundation, in cooperation with the City of Monterey and Department of the Army, has raised initial funds to begin Phase One of the project to enhance and restore this historic 25.3-acre site and is now seeking public donations to help complete the project. Old Monterey Foundation invites everyone to become members of Friends of the Lower Presidio  and make tax-deductible donations to more quickly restore the park.

With the help of donations and grants, Phase One of the project will give the Lower Presidio Historic Park the look and feel of an historic public park, including improved way-finding and identification entry signs to assist the public in accessing the site and highlighting several of the important historic periods at the Presidio; development of pathways, benches and interpretive signs and monuments on the site; replacement of the old cyclone perimeter fence with a wood-appearing historically accurate fence, minimal branch/tree removal where necessary to assure views of the Monterey Harbor and restore it to the way it was seen historically; and development of an ADA approved path leading to the Sloat Monument, the highest point of the site. Old Monterey Foundation is now also seeking funds to restore the Father Serra statue that was recently vandalized.

Eric Palmer and Anne McGrath of the City of Monterey Outreach Office completed an informative short video about the Lower Presidio Historic Park and its significance to California and American history.

Why is the Lower Presidio Historic Park considered by many professional historians as “The Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast”?

There are many major historic highlights of this site which include:

  • Prehistoric archaeological presence of indigenous tribes tracing back 10,000 years.
  • Spanish period that begins with the landing in 1602 of Sebastian Vizcaino, who discovered the Monterey Bay and named the land, “Monterey”, after the Viceroy of Mexico; followed by Father Junipero Serra and Gaspar de Portola in 1770; including the first El Castillo (Presidio) up through the Argentinian Hipolite Bouchard’s raid in 1818 when he attacked and sacked the City of Monterey, which is the only land and sea battle ever to occur on the West Coast of the United States.
  • Mexican period (beginning in 1821 until the U.S. occupation, including the mistaken invasion in 1842 by Commodore Catesby-Jones, commanding the U.S. Pacific Squadron.
  • In 1846, Commodore John Drake Sloat captured Monterey and El Castillo at the beginning of the Mexican American War.
  • American/California period beginning in 1846, including the enactment of the first California Constitution in 1849 through the period that includes when Fort Mervine was a coastal defense and cavalry post.
  • In 1866, Fort Mervine was abandoned by the Army.
  • In 1901, reopening of the post by the Army as a cavalry and artillery garrison, and among its first units is the 9th Cavalry, the “Buffalo Soldiers”.
  • Modern era from the turn of the century when the Presidio became primarily a military training facility in 1940.
  • In 1940, the 11th Cavalry, Buffalo Soldiers and the last mounted regiment in Army history, departs to patrol the MEXICAN BORDER. The Presidio then becomes a training post for civil administration officers being sent to occupied territory during World War II.
  • In 1946, the Presidio becomes the Military Intelligence Service Language School, which evolves into the Defense Language Institute as it is known today.

For more information, call (831) 521-2313.

secluded-entrance-2-lphp-park

 

Lower Presidio Walking tour Saturday, January 21 to focus on the 1842 Invasion of Monterey

The Old Monterey Foundation continues to team up with noted Monterey Bay historian and author, Tim Thomas to offer outstanding “Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours” on the third Saturday of every month from 10:00 AM – Noon.

The next walking tour will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2017: “Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tour: The 1842 Invasion of Monterey”.

Tim will discuss the mistaken invasion in 1842 by Commodore Catesby-Jones, commanding the U.S. Pacific Squadron and more about the intriguing history of the Lower Presidio Historic Park.

Tours meet in front of the City of Monterey’s Presidio of Monterey Museum, 113 Corporal Ewing, Building #113. From Monterey, take Pacific Street past the Monterey Conference Center and the First Theater to the end of Pacific where it forks, take the left fork;, turn left onto Artillery Road, turn right on Corporal Ewing Road and follow it a short way to the Presidio of Monterey Museum in the center of the Park against the hill; from Pacific Grove, take Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey, bear right to go onto Pacific Street and then go to Artillery Road, turn right, and then turn right on Corporal Ewing Road and follow it to the  Museum.

Advance reservations are required by calling Tim Thomas at (831) 521-3304 or via email timsardine@yahoo.com. The tour is for ages 10-adult only and the cost is $20 for adults and kids are $15 (10-15 years). Group rates are also available.

About Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas photo2Thomas, fourth-generation native of the Monterey area, is a popular speaker and lively tour guide. For 16 years, he was historian and curator for the Monterey Maritime & History Museum and has worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California State Parks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He is author of “The Abalone King of Monterey: ‘Pop’ Ernest Doelter,” “The Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula” and co-author of “Monterey’s Waterfront.” Tim also conducts monthly “Wharf Walks” on Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf and offers Cannery Row walking tours, as well.

For more information, call (831) 521-2313.

About the Lower Presidio Historic Park

Hein, Dausen, Martin, and Rodriguez Join OMF Board of Directors

The Old Monterey Foundation (OMF) is pleased to announce four additions to its Board of Directors, beginning January 1, 2017: Brian Hein, Food & Beverage Manager at the Portola Hotel & Spa; Peter G. Dausen, Deputy Naval Support Activity Monterey; Ellen Martin, Art administrator and Executive Director for First Night Monterey; Esther Rodriguez, retired Human Resource Manager and fundraising volunteer for CSUMB, Monterey Library and other organizations. They will join other Directors: Toy Bryant, Mary Lou Cortright, John Gibbons, Salah Laasri, Fred Meuer, Bill McCrone, Frank Solecito, Melissa Thoeny, Steve Vagnini, Bill Wojtkowski. Officers for 2017 will be: Bill Wotjkowski, President, Frank Sollecito, Past President, John Gibbons, CPS, Chief Financial officer/Treasurer, Bill McCrone, Secretary.

The Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization and is organized to promote, support and enhance the artistic and cultural environment of historic downtown Monterey, California. OMF is concluding its fifth year in operation and has many accomplishments, including presenting Art in the Adobes for three consecutive years, organizing more than a dozen lectures on significant historic topics free to the public, working with the City Cultural Arts Commission to raise funds to refurbish Monterey’s handpainted Angel street decorations. The major project at present is raising awareness and funds to implement the City’s plan for the Lower Presidio Historic Park. Announcement will be made soon concerning the installation of the major “public welcome” sign at the park entrance.

Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tour November 19th

Old Monterey Foundation continues to team up with noted Monterey Bay historian and author, Tim Thomas, who offers outstanding “Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours” on the third Saturday of every month. On Saturday, November 19th, the Walking Tour will be held from 10 am – 11 am, and then attendees can watch the Hippolyte Bouchard Flag Raising Ceremony and Historic Re-enactment event from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Tim’s Walking Tour will finish up from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

Tours meet in front of the City of Monterey’s Presidio of Monterey Museum, 113 Corporal Ewing, Building #113. From Monterey, take Pacific Street past the Monterey Conference Center and the First Theater to the end of Pacific where it forks, take the left fork;, turn left onto Artillery Road, turn right on Corporal Ewing Road and follow it a short way to the Presidio of Monterey Museum in the center of the Park against the hill; from Pacific Grove, take Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey, bear right to go onto Pacific Street and then go to Artillery Road, turn right, and then turn right on Corporal Ewing Road and follow it to the Presidio of Monterey Museum.

Advance reservations are required by calling Tim Thomas at (831) 521-3304 or via email timsardine@yahoo.com. The tour is for ages 10-adult only and the cost is $20 for adults and kids are $15 (10-15 years). Group rates are also available.

About Tim Thomas

About the Lower Presidio Historic Park

Hippolyte Bouchard Flag Raising Ceremony & Historic Re-Enactment – Saturday, November 19, 2016.

Save the date for the Hippolyte Bouchard Flag Raising Ceremony and Historic Re-enactment event on Saturday, November 19th from 11:00 a.m. to noon. Join us at the Lower Presidio Historic Park, described as “One of the Most Historically Significant Sites on the West Coast”. Come learn more about Argentine Hippolyte Bouchard’s raid in 1818 when he attacked the City of Monterey, the only land and sea battle ever to occur on the West Coast of the United States.

The City of Monterey, in partnership with the Old Monterey Foundation, is presenting this free community event to kick off a series of events over the next years that celebrate Monterey’s rich past. Learn more about the early military history of the area. Hear Monterey Mayor Clyde Roberson proclaim its upcoming celebration of the Bicentennial of the Battle of Monterey. Dennis Copeland, City of Monterey’s Manager of Museums, Cultural Arts and Archives, will provide a brief military history of the very early period of the Lower Presidio Historic Park. See the Spanish flag lowered and the Argentine flag hoisted at the Bouchard Monument. Cheer or Boo as the “pirates” capture El Castillo and deploy to the Royal Presidio Chapel, now known as San Carlos Cathedral. It was built in 1794 and is the only remaining landmark from the time of the battle. Meet Argentine Captain Bouchard and his opponent Royal Governor Sola. Be the first to know about the plans for the Bicentennial of the Battle of Monterey and the initial planning for the 250th Anniversary of the Founding of Monterey coming in 2020. Bring the whole family and participate in all of the fun and pageantry on Saturday, November 19th!

Map and directions.

Please note that rain will cancel these events on November 19th.

For more information about City of Monterey Museum events visit www.monterey.org/museums or call (831) 646-5640.

Bill McCrone Interview

Bill McCrone, Board Member of Old Monterey Foundation was recently interviewed by Wendy Brickman, Host of the monthlly Brickman Banter Show on AMP Media.

In his fascinating 30 minute interview that featured many great illustrations, Bill shared the past, present and future plans for the Lower Presidio Historic Park and talked about the achievements of Old Monterey Foundation.

Click here to see the interview.